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Cause I’ve been running a long time on this travelling ground

August 14, 2020

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog and there is a simple explanation for that… I’ve been very busy lately with day-to-day life. Yesterday that changed as the kids went back to daycare for the first time in 5 months. No complaints though, we’re healthy and having a lot of fun.

A typical day has consisted of getting my run done in the morning before 9am. Marie works (from home) 9am-5pm and I watch the kids. Most days we’ll do an activity in the morning and then hang around the house in the afternoon. From 5pm-7:30pm we usually go to the park or local pool and then have dinner. Once kids go to bed I try and catch up on emails, coaching and social media.

I stopped doing two runs a day a few months ago when I dropped my volume to the 100-140km/week range. Running 1 x day has been great for more reasons than just time-management and when I ramp up my training again I’ll probably run less doubles than before (but still keep overall volume in the same range).

I decided to drop my volume and intensity in order to stay healthy and freshen up my legs. If I was 10 years younger I’d be trying to make gains in this period of no races but at my age I’m not making overall gains anymore in terms of PB’s. My ambition is to not slow down that much relative to my PB’s. However I want to stay in good enough shape that I can transition back into serious training fairly quickly.

Training has been going alright. Most workouts are pretty lacklustre as find I don’t have the same motivation to push hard and there is a conscious decision to not hammer. If it wasn’t for a couple of virtual races (time trials) and a key workout challenge I know I’d feel as though I’m in way worse shape than I actually am.

I had two virtual races in June, a 10.5k and a 5k. The 10.5k was a team competition where 4 runners added up their 10.5k times for a total 42k result. Having teammates kept me accountable and motivated and I came away averaging 3:00/k for 10.5k.

A couple weeks later I did a 5k time trial as part of the Run CRS Spring Run-off. For fun (because my result wasn’t going to be official) I took aim at Graeme Fell’s Canadian master’s mark of 14:35. Having that goal helped push me and though I came up short with a 14:39 I was pleased with that effort.

14:39 5k - Jeremy Rae taking photos

After the 5k we took a family road trip out East. We first went to Cape Breton to self-isolate for two weeks. It was a great place to self-isolate because I was able to run and not come remotely close to anyone. After two weeks we camped around Cape Breton and then visited family around Halifax. We had a quick visit to PEI on the way home. I (nor my kids) had been to Cape Breton and PEI before and really enjoyed both places.

On July 31st I took a crack at the Run Ottawa “Beat the Champ” 10k challenge (which was to beat Justin Kent’s 10k winning time of 28:52 by way of 10 x 1k intervals with open rest). I didn’t have much confidence that I’d be able to average 2:53 for 10 intervals but I knew it would push me to a good workout even if I cam up a little short. I started out with a 2:53 and surprisingly settled into 2:51’s for most of my intervals and then finished it off with a 2:45 (averaged 2:50.1 off of ~3 minutes rest). Once again having a tangible target motivated me to push my effort and I was pumped with that session.

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My last race was the Chilly Half marathon on March 1st where I won in 64:36. It’s funny to think back to when everyone was shaking hands after the race and there was a post-race buffet meal set out. Times have changed. The race itself was a test to break-up training as I was preparing for the Prague Marathon (May 4th). That result was a confidence booster and also solidified the effectiveness of the Nike Next% Vaporflys. And big thanks to Nike for supporting me with gear and shoes!

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Nine days after the Chilly Half I put the shoes to a better test with a 43k run. I did a 2k warm-up and then a 36k progression (12k @ 3:49/k, 12k @ 3:29/k, 12k @ 3:07/k where my last 4k were 3:02/k). The Vaporflys really make a difference after 30k of running! My legs felt surprisingly good towards the end of that run and I was able to close faster than anticipated.Β A few days later the pandemic was declared and all races were getting cancelled/postponed.

My outlook changed daily. At first I thought if everything locked down for a few weeks then we’d get over the worst of it and things would resume again in late-April. That quickly changed to trying to see if someone could host a small marathon with less than 12 athletes at the end of May. That quickly changed to focusing on a fall marathon. That changed to not putting much stock in any significant race taking place in 2020.

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For a few months now my plan has been to target a December marathon. Although I’m not holding my breath that a race will actually happen it is good to have a target in mind. I figure if a race cancels it typically happens far enough out that I won’t have trained really hard for an extended period of time. Unlike in the Spring where athletes were in the middle, or even at the end of a marathon block and their race got cancelled with only weeks to go. Athletes were scrambling to try and put their hard-earned fitness to use. Now we’re at the point where our expectations for race opportunities are in check and the most important things are to keep safe and curb the spread of Covid.

It’s good to see the London Marathon (Oct 3) going ahead with an elite-only race (knowing that a mass-participant race isn’t feasible). Hopefully it sets a precedent that races, with reduced size, can be held in a safe manner.

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Right now I’m taking a week, or more, off of running to deal with a little injury. My back has been pestering me for a few months, not enough to really effect training but enough too warrant fixing it properly. Twice I took a couple of days off in a row and it felt much better but then it does a slow decline over the following weeks.

At the start of this week I decided that I should take care of this for good. I got a massage on Monday that loosened everything up really well. The next day I went through my stretches and because I was much more limber I ended up straining a ligament (that already has improved a lot in the past couple of days). I saw a chiro on Wednesday that ruled out any disc problems and get some treatment.

After 3-4 days of complete rest I’ll get on the bike for easy rides until it feels healthy enough to run again. I figured if I ramped up training in September with something bothering me it could turn into something worse. Now is the time to get it right. My initial thought was that running around 90-120k/week would enable it to get better. However, running around 100k/week is still substantial even if it feels very manageable for me and overall my body feels fresh with that load.

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With the kids back in daycare that gives me more time to focus on coaching and expand a little. I’ve been coaching a small number of athletes for the past 5+ years with the intention of ramping up after a run at qualifying (or making) the 2020ne Olympics. I want to make sure I keep delivering the same amount of attention to athletes I coach so ideally I’d take on a few new athletes each month to make sure I keep it manageable.

I’ve also been approached to start an in-person training group that meets in Hamilton. Again, with a bit more free-time I’m able to get something off the ground. I’m going to meet up with some athletes next Tuesday and figure out what day/time works best to host group workouts moving forward. Once we have that established people are welcome to come out and run with the group. These sessions will be free with the caveat that the specific sessions will revolve around the needs of the athletes I personally coach (across a wide-range of levels). There will likely be more than one type of workout as I’m collaborating with other coaches in the area who will have their own athletes. It should be a lot of fun and athletes will be able to get more out of their running with the energy of the group. Group gatherings look a little different these days but I find simply having other people in the same training location, even if they aren’t physically close, makes workouts more exciting.

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